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Lessons for Nigeria from the Silicon Valley model

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata
Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, presenter of Tech Trends on Channels Television
Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, presenter of Tech Trends on Channels Television

Silicon Valley is known for its large concentration of Chip inventors, manufacturers, etc. In fact, many of the world's largest tech corporations as well as Start-ups reside at the Silicon Valley.

I recently had a chat with Michelle Messina, the CEO of Explora International LLC, on what lessons Nigeria can draw from the Silicon Valley experience.

Michelle has been working at the Silicon Valley for the past 20 years and in that capacity, has been to about 50 countries all over the world.

On why the Silicon Valley has been successful so far, Michelle stated that Silicon Valley has a 50 year old story of refining models and growing Start-ups.

Two factors that has helped it to grow, she maintained, are cultural diversity of the people coming there from all over the world to set up their companies and then, the atmosphere in Silicon Valley is such that supports the Start-ups to grow and be successful within the ecosystem.

These atmosphere, she stressed, include Investment Capital, large corporations buying from Start-ups, availability of specialized service providers, etc. These, she says, have been refined over the years.

Responding to a question as to whether the government of the United States of America formulated policies that enabled the Silicon Valley to thrive that much, Michelle responded in the affirmative, stressing that government policies are really important as they impact on what happens in the industry.

She further explained that, although, the government of the United States of America does not take an active role in the at Silicon Valley, it, however, facilitates business, so that, the natural organic innovations and creativity can happen.

Michelle recommends this type of model for the relationship between the Nigerian tech ecosystem and government in Nigeria, we especially, now that the Nigerian government is trying to transit from a natural resources-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.

To achieve the transformation, Michelle posits that government should put all the necessary infrastructures in place, ensure IP protection, make it easy to set up and do business in Nigeria as well as shut it down in an order my manner if the it fails, etc.

Michelle is, however, of the opinion that it might be difficult to cut and paste the Silicon Valley model by other countries because of the style of communication, culture, way of doing business and other factors. Their factors, she reiterated, however, have to be dealt with uniquely to have a model in the mould of Silicon Valley.

Michelle wrote a book titled "Decoding Silicon Valley" basically to showcase what the Silicon Valley is all about and how things work there and making then to achieve. Important aspects such as pitching, overall fund raising strategies, etc., were discussed in her book.

Michelle, in answering another question, debunked some misconceptions about the Silicon Valley such as the ease of meeting with world-renown tech gurus and accessing easy funds. Your ideas and innovations.

She also stated that failure is a part of the process of Silicon Valley because it enables the tech enthusiasts to know what doesn't work and this helps to get things right in the end. Failure, she opined, is part if the learning process.

CFA is the Founder, & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television